I was going to stay above the fray but a couple things bothered me about the anonymous poster. I'm not sure if this is the right time or place but it will make me feel better. 1) Why post under anonymous or a false name? I think this decreases the accountability posters have to their statements. 2) I don't have a problem with your message but your tone irritated me. 3) It's just a game. This isn't Western States and there is no prize money at stake. For me, chasing an fkt or strava segment is fun and motivating and I'm inclined to try for ones I think I can reach and then keep pushing my limits a little. I might succeed or fail but for me just the mere fact of trying to chase some of these is a victory for me as I've overcome some difficult things I won't expand on here. 4) "I can't imagine anyone really going after this". Apparently, at least 1 other person in the universe is interested. If you aren't interested in this one by all means don't go after it. If you go back and carefully read my too numerous posts you'll see part of my objective was to make the route more simple and straightforward perhaps to attract more attention to it. It is also a very beautiful route and I've seen a lot of places so I think that says a lot.
I can't imagine anyone really going after this. This is just a run you did, and are trying to attach a FKT to it. Just stick to some of the main FKTs man.
I don't know. It seems like at least 2 people think it's a worthy route (Dan and the OP). It can certainly be tricky to decide if a route is logical and worthy or "just a run you did", especially for those not familiar with the area. ?
Not really. While many routes are "contrived", and therefore could be considered "just a run someone did", many others are defined by the trails or terrain. The Long Trail is an example of the latter - the LT existed as a unit long before someone thought of trying for speed on it. A mountain ascent record would be another example. For a more contrived route, as this one perhaps is, I think one wants to explain why it makes sense as an FKT route (which the OP did to an extent), and then see if it resonates with others over time. I think of something like the UK's Bob Graham Round here - old Bob saw he could link up a mess of hills in a neat loop over 24 hours. It caught on and became a total classic over the years. Will this route become a classic or be forgotten? Can't really say yet. What makes a good FKT route would be a great discussion to have. It's a little like art: you know it when you see it, but everyone has a different opinion.
Thanks for moving the conversation forward and clarifying what makes a good fkt route. I also agree only time will tell if this particular route catches on. Maybe if some fkt stud takes an interest :-) I just have 2 questions and the first only applies to those interested in the route. The OP explained the route but I think he had 1 mistake in his route - taking the route off the STT and onto a closed unmaintained trail on steep terrain in order to get to Bash Bish Falls. Does the OP and/or others agree this is a mistake? After gaining this new understanding coupled with my experience making and reading maps and being objective as a science and history teacher, and actually seeing this route on the ground, I could offer an objective evaluation of the route compared to other northeast fkt routes if people are interested. So my second question is would you like to know what I think about the route?
I finally realized the obvious that there is another interesting question raised. Is it right to change an fkt route if the route has a serious flaw? On my NYNJ Trail Conference Map 2015 3rd edition the trail from Bash Bish Mtn. to Bash Bish Falls does not exist. If you have the map check it out. Consider this dilemma: Let's say the OPs route made sense in your mind except for his decision to join a closed unmaintained trail on a steep slope. Let's say you are almost 20 miles in to the route. For the whole run you've been asking yourself, do I stick to the route even though it doesn't make sense, or do I change the route to improve it even though it might cost me the fkt? When I get to the junction I see the old wooden blazes that have been painted and the paint is fading and no obvious trail exists. I chose to stay on the STT. What would you choose? So it was just a run I did in the sense that the original route was contrived and that I altered the route. What I'm not willing to concede is the route I ran is better.
Post by ryanwilliams on May 9, 2017 9:15:36 GMT -5
Really excited to find this post a while back but haven't gotten to chime in. I grew up (North Canaan, CT) and still live (Norfolk, CT) in the area of the Southern Taconics and love those mountains. For a while now I've envisioned this route (including the road section to make it a loop). Then one day last summer I found this FKT page and got super psyched that folks were messing around on the route. As an aside - I always called it (in my head and to friends) the "Taconic Rim" as it traverses each ridge high on the plateau on the two major trails. Anyway, not trying to name your route, just wanted to say.
As far as the anonymous post - the tone was pretty negative. I think it could be a great FKT for folks to try. The only thing that would make it better would be to have the loop completed by trail (I've thought of some good bushwhack routes that would avoid private land to connect it).
That said, I'll be heading out there this Saturday to give it a go. Not so much to get the fastest time (plus, I'll be altering the route - will describe below), but want to get a lot of vert and time on the feet. I'm running the Cayuga 50 in a month and this'll be one of my harder long runs. I will also say that I have done the two "legs" of this run previously in various ways. Once from Mt. Washington State Park Headquarters to Catamount and one route from Bear Mountain to Jug End. I'm also very familiar with 95% of the route (least familiar with STT side) having hiked or run the mountains many, many times.
I'll be going self-supported and at least one buddy's going to join me for a portion. We're going to park my car at the big pull off on 23 near Catamount at the northern terminus of the South Taconic Trail. I'll then be dropped off at the Jug End trailhead and my friend will make his way up to the AMC Northwest Camp trailhead on Mount Washington Rd. I'll be carrying all my gear from Jug End till that half way point where I'll re-supply and start running with him (and maybe more folks depending on who wants to come).
NOTE: I'm using both the South Taconic Range map (by the Berkshire Natural Resources - beautiful map, though without mileages), and the AMC's Massachusetts Trail Map (w/mileages).
1. Jug End AT trailhead (Guilder Hollow Rd.) 2. South over Mt. Bushnell 3. Past Guilder Pond and up Mt. Everett 4. Up and over Race Mt. 5. Into Sages Ravine and up Bear Mt. the steep way 6. Down Bear to the Bear Mt. Road 7. Take the right onto the Bog Trail to the AMC Northwest Camp NOTE: This cuts down on the amount of gravel road 8. At the AMC Northwest Camp head left (west) out to the trailhead
THIS IS WHERE I'LL RE-UP ON WATER & FOOD
9. Take a right (north) back onto Mount Washington Rd. 10. Take a left (west) onto the Mt. Frissell Trail 11. Over Round Mountain and Mt. Frissell 12. Stay on this trail until the junction with the STT 13. Take a right (north) onto STT NOTE: I'm not going to do the out and back to Brace Mt. just to keep the route a point-to-point. I understand the desire to tag the peak as it's so close, but I'd rather not mess with my perceived flow of the run - just more my style. 14. Stay on the STT to go over Alander 15. Head north towards Bash Bish and stay on the STT NOTE: I think for trail etiquette, conservation reasons, and safety it's best to stay on the STT and avoid upper falls 16. Get onto the Cedar Brook Trail NOTE: The time I came through here I stayed on the STT but thought the Cedar Brook Tr would be much more enjoyable 17. Take a right back onto the STT and go to Sunset Rock 18. Stay on the STT to Prospect Hill and to Catamount 19. Finish the STT to the end NOTE: I too had trouble finding my way on the trail through Catamount. I was there in the early spring and ended up running down part of the ski trail with people flying past me. I'll do my best to follow the true trail.
I'd love anyone's input about all of this and am excited for the run. I'll post my link to Suunto Movescount and Strava as well as a post-run write-up. I might post on some of the FB groups as well.
LASTLY, watch out for Timber Rattlesnake as it heats up. Please do not disturb them. They just want to do their own thing and are listed as State Endangered in CT and MA, and Threatened in NY. But be aware they may bask in the trail.
Post by ryanwilliams on May 9, 2017 9:18:03 GMT -5
I want to also say that my route was designed for maximum enjoyment on my part. I'm more drawn to point-to-point runs with lots of technical ups and downs avoiding roads as much as possible. By no way am I saying this is the end-all route for this area but just my take on it.
Ryan, this sounds like a great run and good luck in the race! Taconic Rim is a great name! I hear you about avoiding roads. I'd only suggest making an fkt route as simple as possible. I don't mind running with a map in hand but I'm not sure that everyone likes that. I also wondered about the out and back to Brace and how it affects the flow. It also seems like a shame to miss it being so close so I could see a route with or without Brace. I agree that the route should avoid the closed steep trail also for safety reasons. Don't have a strong opinion on STT vs. Cedar Brook. Cedar Brook sounds nice but there's a need to keep it simple. It seems like there is great potential for a route but somehow there just has to be a consensus on what the route is. Your route seems very close to the original and the route I ran so I think the only questions are 1) Route from Bear to Mt Frissel Trail 2) Inclusion of Brace? 3) STT vs. Cedar Brook Maybe others can weigh in on these decisions? It will be great to hear how your run turns out.
Post by ryanwilliams on May 9, 2017 15:39:40 GMT -5
Thanks Dan! Agreed on the need for an FKT to be fairly straight forward. I think there can be an argument made for the "best" route (whatever that means) and the most direct or obvious route. Sometimes they are the same, but in this case I think the detours will make it more enjoyable. Just one person's opinion. I won't be running with a map in hand (though probably in my pack) because I know the trails well but someone not as familiar would likely want one. Strangely enough, I think all of the turns would be straight forward except for the actual STT once you hit Catamount..it got funky in there last time.
I think your list is a good one that could be used for consensus if enough people ever wanted to give it a go. All of my personal detours/routing were just to keep the flow nice and skipping out on that part of the STT parallel to Cedar Brook (I recall it being pretty boring double track). I'd love for there to be a bunch of folks going for some sort of "Taconic Rim" FKT whatever it shakes out to be. If there ever is a generally agreed upon route I'll definitely give it another shot with time in mind. For now, just looking for a difficult run. I'll make sure to post afterwards.
The route I ran was only "better" because it eliminated an obvious safety hazard. I set out to run the route exactly as it was laid out by the OP and did that for 20 miles but when I got to the closed trail it just didn't make any sense. I only have a strong opinion about eliminating the closed trail. Once I made the decision to stay on the STT my only other decision was to remain on it or take the Cedar Brook Trail. It just seemed simplest again to keep following the white blazes to the end. I think since there is consensus on the vast majority of the route maybe the connections just don't matter. Maybe the simplest connections are best for the route. If this is true, than the route I ran is the route. Keep in mind that one is free to alter the route any way they want if they aren't going for an fkt.
This isn't about me or any claim to an fkt because I don't think my time was that great anyway.
It would seem like a shame to never have a route established because of minor differences about the least important parts of the route. Maybe just maybe it wasn't just a run I did but it was a run that helped transform a great vision from the OP into a viable fkt route. I hope others will join the conversation to help craft this route.
There's a need to split this page into a number of different routes.
1) I propose a new super-traverse of the Taconics that encompasses the length of the new STT, the AT between Salisbury, Jug End & connecting roads that I've dubbed the "Taconic Trails Challenge". More information here: taconictrails100k.blogspot.com/; I plan to create a new FKT page for this superloop shortly. Amy Hanlon & Curt Pandiscio completed this on April 22, 2017 in 14:39:12- supported with a detour to the summit outlook on Mt. Fray.
2) Several loops linking the crest trails on the Mt. Riga plateau are possible, all of which can be done entirely on foot. - The U-shaped route proposed above can be connected by running Jug End Rd & MA 22 to bridge the AT & the STT. - A "Middle Crown" loop that traverses Mts: Everett, Race, [possibly Bear], Rounds/Frissell, [possibly Brace] & Alander can be done using the NW Road- Mt Frissell Trail connector in the South & Mt Everett Summit Rd- East St- Cross Rd- West St- Falls Rd/NY 344 in the North. Stanislav Trufanov completed this loop wile marking for the Taconic Trails 75k but has not track nor time- only good memories... The distance was 18<l<20mi - Additionally, a "Southern Crown" loop encompassing the Southern section of the AT, the NW Road- Frissell Tr connector, the Southern Section of the STT & a Shagroy/Belgo Rd- US 44- CT 41 road connector has been completed & tracked by Scott Patnode & Stanislav Trufanov- also in the week preceding the TT100k event. There is a track but no intent to report an FKT.
Post by ryanwilliams on May 22, 2017 10:02:26 GMT -5
I think it's really cool what you're putting together with the big loop. Also nice website. I think the nature of all of the previously proposed routes try to eliminate road sections. It would be easy to make a loop using Rt. 23 and Jug End Rd. but it's so nice not to have to run on the pavement after all the great trails. Plus, point-to-points are awesome. Though this makes it a little more logistically challenging.
I ran my version of the "U" yesterday starting at Jug End and ending at Catamount and crossed paths with Ben Nephew who went the other direction, and at a much faster clip. I will be posting a description of my run shortly but for now here's the Strava link www.strava.com/activities/999713382
I ran the U with the Bog Trail and Cedar Brook in 5:42:30. This version seems like a great route to me. That road section is over 3.5 miles, and I don't think anyone would be happy about including that in a full FKT attempt.
Post by tbakpartyrock on May 26, 2017 13:08:50 GMT -5
Original poster here. Sorry for the long silence – great to see the discussion on the route and people getting out there and running it! My main objective with posting the route was to try to establish it and get others out there to run it. It’s awesome to see Ben run the route and set a killer time! Couldn’t be more stoked and the fkt report is a great read! Thanks.
As for addressing a couple questions/issues with the route as I ran it:
- A trail from Alander to the tops of Bash Bish did exist. Previous versions of the NYNJ South Taconic map as well as a (really nice but seemingly no longer available) BNRC Taconics map had a trail leading down to the top of the falls. New versions of the NYNJ map no longer show this trail, which confirms its closure. My main reason for this original route was water access at the top of the falls as well as enjoyment of the run from the top of the falls down along the brook. This route should no longer be followed do to trail closure and following the STT down as drawn is best.
- In regards to the route from Bear Mt to Mt.Frissell (trail) – I ran over Bear and down to Bear Mountain Road straight out to the dirt road and headed north 0.2 miles to Mt.Frissell trail. This seems to be the easiest, most direct route. Ben’s route is more difficult both terrain wise and navigation wise, especially coming from the West. Finding the Bog trail connector from Northwest Road Trail is difficult. I would highly suggest using the dirt road for a short distance along with the full length of Bear Mountain Road.
- Brace should not be missed. It’s an incredible little open hill with great views and a worthwhile out and back to the route.
- I maintain that Cedar Brook is a better trail than the actual STT. It’s more direct and a heck of a lock more fun traversing the brook several times.
I'm sold on Cedar Brook now even though I haven't seen it. I agree about Brace. I can see your point about Bear Mtn Road. That is how I ran. But, I think Ben deserves the fkt after his effort and I'd hate to see it lost over such a small difference in routes.